There's never been a shortage of rugby chat in this nation. Some may even argue that (block your ears, rugbyheads) there's too much. But what no-one can argue with is that, increasingly, a lot of that chat is done online, whether it's commenting on the latest Honey-billed William rumour, questioning that controversial yellow card decision, or critiquing the duck face selfie/dressing room dab after the game. 2degrees, which announced its sponsorship of all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams late last year, wants that to continue and has launched a campaign via its new agency DDB that will turn the chat into something more.
As it says on the tin: "New Zealand is always chatting, about rugby. And we at 2degrees want to keep it that way. You see, 2degrees are all about enabling Kiwis to chat, be it online or via your mobile or office phone. So this Super Rugby season we are going to take all of the chat and use it to make content throughout the season. We're doing this by creating stories from the thousands of conversations that are happening every week, in the places that people talk about rugby."
The rugby sponsorship landscape is fairly cluttered these days and, in the telco space, Vodafone announced its sponsorship of the All Blacks in May last year. But by using a selection of popular memes and focusing heavily on social media, 2degrees is showing it's down with the kids (and, by using a few rugby in-jokes and little known facts, showing it knows its rugby onions).
2degrees head of marketing Roy Ong gave the business to DDB after Special Group was controversially dropped just a few months after winning a pitch. At the time of the appointment, Ong said the quality of DDB’s work over the last decade played a major role in pushing him toward the agency.
“DDB has got strategic horsepower combined with really good creative muscle,” Ong says. “It is a big shop and we really want to utilise it as much as possible. We need someone who can manage the current complexity, but also the growth aspiration we have in coming years.”
Ong said he was also drawn to the agency because of its ability to tell strong stories that deliver brand growth, with Lotto’s ‘Imagine’ platform and the recent launch of Steinlager’s Tokyo Dry two creative examples his team kept referring back to.
“One of the main things we took into consideration was about which agency could tell the most compelling stories with an emotional hook."
In October last year – and in keeping with the focus on ads that featured confused looking people asking questions about the telco sector – 2degrees launched a campaign focused on its Business Choice X and XL, "which allowed customers to use their New Zealand plan allocation while you’re in Aussie at no extra cost".